Shay Mitchell Talks Bouncing Back To Normal After Having A Baby

Shay MitchellPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

For many women, welcoming a baby into this world is one of those peak experiences that alters your identity. And although becoming a parent does change one’s lifestyle entirely, Shay Mitchell said she still experiences moments of disbelief that she is someone’s mother.  

In an interview with Women’s Health, Mitchell shared how pregnancy and raising a baby changed the way she viewed her body. In fact, the 34-year-old actress said it took one year after birthing Atlas — Mitchell’s 1-year-old daughter who she shares with partner Matte Babel — to finally feel like her pre-pregnant self. “I hit the pause button… I was like, ‘Well, what am I getting ready for?’” she told Women’s Health while reflecting on the frequent time she spent on the floor with her immobile infant. 

However, Mitchell’s slow-paced maternal routine took a turn when she committed to a partnership with Openfit. For four weeks, working out five days a week became her job, and the actress began to feel like herself again. She even posted a photo to Instagram with before-and-after shots of her body and noted that she felt more “healthy, energetic, and engaged.” 


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Nevertheless, criticism swarmed over Mitchell’s feed: People alleged that she captured the same photo from two different angles or that she criticized overweight bodies. “Right after I had Atlas, if I ever made a comment about how I didn’t feel like myself, people were like, ‘Well, you just had a baby.’ Yeah, I know I just had a baby,” she said. “I’m very grateful for my body, and that it gave life, but I’m still allowed to express that I don’t feel like myself.”

Despite dealing with prepartum depression during pregnancy, Mitchell said being open and honest about motherhood — desiring to feel as strong as she did before having Atlas  — helped her bounce back to feeling like herself. “We should also celebrate our bodies at whatever point we feel our best again,” she said. 

Her fitness routine, led by trainer Kelsey Heenan, intertwined cardio and strength training that evolved daily. HIIT workouts, EMOMs (every minute on the minute), jump squats, arm/leg raises, and squat presses enveloped Mitchell’s everyday regimen. “For me, it was always about a deadlift,” she said. “Getting up to 50 pounds was a boss move. I was really proud of myself.” Though she added a list of “life-changing” stretches spidermans, thoracic rotations, arm sweepsto her post-workout routine, Mitchell sometimes finishes with rope jumping or hikes in Vancouver instead. Best of all, she’s accomplished everyone’s worst nightmare: pushups.  

Additionally, nourishing her body through “healthy-ish” eating helped Mitchell feel more like herself again. “I wish I could say it was all quinoa, salmon, and asparagus, but it’s not,” she said. After beginning her mornings with water and lemon, Mitchell follows with a TikTok-inspired “perfect breakfast quesadilla” comprised of eggs, spinach, cheese, and olive oil. She then indulges in her 11 a.m. snack — mango, grapefruit, and strawberries — before lunch: usually a soup like pho, or chicken and macaroni. Four o’clock calls for cheese and vegetables coupled with a glass of wine, and then Mitchell eats dinner around 6:30 p.m. Usually, she opts for a balance of starch (such as noodles) and vegetables with a salad. Her sweet tooth gets satisfied with either two of “these crazy caramel-chocolate cookies from Costco” or Lily’s chocolate-covered almonds.  

As for her prepartum struggles, Mitchell said talking to friends helped. However, she shared that seeing her daughter for the first time encouraged her to focus on not only her family, but herself. Whether it’s taking a cycling class with friends, overseeing the two companies she cofounded (Beis and Onda) or voicing the protagonist in the upcoming Netflix series Trese, Mitchell seems happy to rebound back to living life with her newfound balance. “People are like, ‘Why?’ and I’m like, ‘Well, why not?’” she said about diving into a variety of projects. “Look, I have one life to live. I don’t want to say,What if?’”


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